UNSC to meet on Syria as fighting flares in Homs

Opposition group, Free Syria Army, claims capture of Iranian Revolutionary Guard members aiding Assad in crackdown.

United Nations Security Council 311 (R) (photo credit: Mike Segar / Reuters)
United Nations Security Council 311 (R)
(photo credit: Mike Segar / Reuters)
AMMAN - Fighting erupted in Homs on Friday, a day after townspeople said Alawite militiamen killed 14 members of a Sunni Muslim family in one of Syria's worst sectarian attacks since a revolt against President Bashar Assad flared in March.
The UN Security Council was to meet later in the day to discuss Syria before a possible vote next week on a new Western-Arab draft resolution aimed at halting months of bloodshed.
Russia, which joined China in vetoing a previous Western draft resolution in October and which has since promoted its own draft, said the Western-Arab version was unacceptable.
The draft contains "no fundamental consideration for our position" and is missing "key aspects that are fundamental to us," Itar-Tass news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying.
The text, obtained by Reuters, calls for a "political transition", but not for UN sanctions against Assad's government, which Moscow, an old ally of Syria and an important arms supplier to Damascus, opposes.
Arab monitors headed for the Damascus suburb of Douma, where government troops battled rebel fighters the previous day as the struggle to topple Assad edged close to the Syrian capital.
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Opposition activists said Syrian security forces killed seven people overnight, including four in Homs, a mostly Sunni city with minority Alawite neighborhoods that has become a fiercely contested battleground in the uprising. Two people were killed in Idlib and one in the Damascus suburb of Saqba.
The British-based opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces had killed a total of 43 civilians on Thursday, including 33 in Homs, of whom nine were children.
Free Syria Army claims capture of Iranian agents in Homs
The Free Syria Army, an armed opposition group fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad, has released a video purporting to show seven Iranians, including five members of the Revolutionary Guard, captured in Homs, Al Arabiya reported on Friday.
“I am Sajjad Amirian, a member the Revolutionary Guards of the Iranian armed forces. I am a member of the team in charge of cracking down on protesters in Syria and we receive our orders directly from the security division of the Syrian Air Force in Homs,” Al Arabiya quoted one of the captives as saying.
“I urge Mr. [Iranian Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei to work on securing our release and return to our homes,” he added.
The Jerusalem Post could not independently confirm the veracity of this report.
The Free Syria Army said that five of the men were military agents working with Syrian Air Force intelligence and two showed “civilian status” as employees in a Homs power plant. The opposition group added that all seven men entered Syria during the uprising. It said it would release the two civilians soon, AlArabiya reported.